A sales person must use the proper inside sales techniques for generating conversations with less-than-willing potential customers; and when it comes to quantifying setting appointments performance, knowing how to identify a conversation is key.
Appointment setting is a business process measured using two simple ratios: one for efficiency and one for effectiveness. And, both ratios use the number of Conversations in their calculations.
- To measure Efficiency –The ratio of conversations (C) generated to the number of dials (D) made; commonly called the ‘Conversation Ratio.’
- To measure Effectiveness – The ratio of appointments (A) set to the number of conversations (C) generated; commonly called the ‘Appointment Ratio.’
These metrics will provide the most accurate results when you have a clear definition of Conversation. Since the Conversation element is part of both ratios, we must make sure that callers and managers are using the same definition for what should be counted as a conversation – and, what should not be counted.
The simple rules to identify a ‘conversation’ are these:
- You spoke with the person who you want the appointment with. Typically, this is called the decision maker (DM). Even though they might not be the final or only voice in becoming your customer, they are the right path into the target company.
- You had the conversation you wanted. I know, the conversation you wanted would have ended in an appointment; but, for the purposes of measuring the process we have to accurately measure the number of ‘real conversations’ that did not turn into an appointment.
The ‘conversation you wanted’ requires that you select what that means to your team. There are three outcomes when a decision maker answers the phone that could be used to define the ‘conversation you wanted.’
The DM answers the phone and I deliver my opening script, then
- The DM says nothing, just hangs up on me. Basically, they answer the phone.
- The DM says ‘I am happy now’ (or any of the common initial reactions we hear) and hangs up on me. Basically, they give me an answer that I can put in my notes.
- The DM says ‘I am happy now’ (or any of the common initial reactions) and I use my skilled technique to respond. Basically, I get a chance to respond them at least once.
As a general rule, the first option measures the success of the process in getting through to a decision maker. The second option tracks the responses to your opening—and in some cases helps to decide whether to change the opening. The third option measures the skill of the caller’s techniques.
The bottom line is this: It really doesn’t matter which of the three options you choose, so long as you use that definition every single time. The analysis of the metrics will be done with that definition in mind.